Whoever said (whomever said… who… pretty sure whoever) that girls (yes, I know I used girls and not women, it was a conscious choice) aren’t funny has not yet seen Bridesmaids. But don’t get me wrong, as much as the film is a ‘female’ comedy, it’s not only female comedy… it’s just a comedy and a pretty damn funny one at that.
Okay. I’ll try to be less convoluted for the rest of the review, it’s just that it’s pretty rare these days to get a comedy this good so I’m a little lost for words. Bridesmaids was written by Annie Mumulo and Kristen Wiig (and also stars the latter… a lot more on that, uh, her, later) and is populated with fellow Groundlings alumni (for those who don’t know, the Groundlings is a famous comedy troupe and training ground for a lot of today’s sketch comedians).
It’s directed by Paul Feig, the man who created Freaks and Geeks (look for Mr. Kowchevski) and has since directed everything from Arrested Development to The Office and produced by Judd Apatow, the man (yes, that is all, the man… fine, the man behind the only other real comedies of merit the last few years like 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up). So yeah, this flick had a lot going for it before the cameras even rolled, and it almost completely lives up to that potential.
First things first… the script technically follows the standard romantic comedy formula but it has such a loose feel to it, with extended comedic set pieces (that work, for the most part) that the story feels anything but tired or hackneyed. Basically I’m saying it’s very original in it’s unoriginality and feels very organic. Organic and funny and warm. That’s no easy feat. In fact, that’s an almost impossible feat which is why Bridesmaids is another Judd Apatow produced comedy that stands on the shoulders of the people on the shoulders of the competition.
The main reason why? Kristen Wiig. She’s genius. High praise? Sure but if people we’re drooling all over Zach Galifianakis’ role in last year’s breakout comedy, The Hangover (which is probably funnier than Brides but no where near as complete a film… and the wolfpack’s return in a few weeks hold little promise to come anywhere near these ladies) they should be doing double back flips for Wiig’s Annie. She’s the straight-woman and the odd-ball all at once… and wholly convincing in both roles. Her character is completely believable and broken and beautiful and… damn out of b’s… FUNNY.
The supporting cast is well up to task, especially Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne who both shine in their very different roles. All the characters are well rounded (McCarthy’s Megan is a little less realistic but she’s a scene stealer so we can forgive that) and we’re left wanting to know more about some of the minor players (like Ellie Kemper’s Becca and Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Rita… who look like they should get their own bramance spin-off). Lastly come the boys. John Hamm shows up to play a gloriously over the top dick head in his extended cameo (yes, a Hammeo… we loves us a Hammeo) and Chris O’Dowd plays it subtle and cool as the genuine love-interest. A great cast and I haven’t even mentioned names like Terry Crews, Matt Lucas, Michael Hitchcock and the bride Mya Rudolph.
There are already a lot of comparisons to The Hangover (hell, even I mentioned it twenty paragraphs ago) but I really feel like that’s not really the right counterpart, it’s just the easiest one to think of… you know, groomsmen (which could have been a good title) and bridesmaids, we get it. The more apt comparison, in my opinion anyway, is with Meet the Parents (the first one, aka the good one). Kristen Wiig’s spiral out of control reminded me a lot of Ben Stiller’s Gaylord Focker struggling to make a good impression on the new in-laws. In many ways Wiig’s Annie is such a great character (as GF was in MTP) and so entertaining to watch because we can relate to someone being thrown into these awkward social situations as well as her struggles with her everyday life as it crumbles.
These women are funny, smart, raunch and heartwarming. Bridesmaids, if all is right in the movie world (which it almost never is), will be the breakout hit of the summer. Insert wedding related pun conclusion… wait, I got one. Do you take Bridesmaids as your comedy hit of the summer? I do!
Official Synopsis: “This spring, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad) and director Paul Feig (creator of Freaks and Geeks) invite you to experience Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to matrimony.
Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.”